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Turning abandoned shares into support for communities – and what you can do to help

The government has launched a consultation on how to distribute dormant assets for good causes. We explain what dormant assets are, how they could support communities and how you can help make that happen.

What are dormant assets?

Dormant assets are financial products that haven't been accessed for a long time - and unlikely to be in the future. Since 2008 legislation allows money from bank and building society accounts that were considered dormant to be spent on good causes once efforts have been made to find the owner of the asset.

The legislation specified this money would be spent on youth, social investment and financial inclusion. There's long been talk about extending the range of the financial products from which dormant assets can be claimed and last year further legislation was passed to include products like shares, pensions and insurance in the scheme.

What is the consultation about?

The legislation includes a commitment to consult on which causes the fund should be used for. The government now has the power to occasionally consult on how to distribute dormant assets without having to pass a new law.

This means organisations large and small across England will get a chance to have their say on how the money should be spent. The consultation asks about:

  • existing causes that receive money
  • community wealth funds.

But if anyone has any other ideas, you can pitch them directly to government through the consultation.

What we’re calling for

We’ve been thinking a lot about how we can really focus new funding on communities. Our response to the consultation will back a combination of approaches - to give us the best chance of a range of investment into social infrastructure and to make sure dormant assets have a long-term impact in strengthening communities.

We'll keep you up-to-date on the outcomes of the consultation. In the meantime, if you'd like to speak to me about the consultation or any related matters please send me an email at

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